Pharmaceutical Drugs In Drinking Water?

How do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water in the first place? Recently we learned that an investigative probe finds drugs in drinking water samples taken from cities across the United States, but Americans are not alone.

The same problem has been found in Japan, Canada and Europe. It is likely a problem anywhere in the world with a fairly large population. But, any small town with a hospital probably shares in the risk.

Hospitals are one answer to how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water. They commonly flush discontinued and expired medications every month. The things that we flush end up in the environment. They may end up in a river, an ocean or the groundwater, but at some point they contaminate the freshwater sources that people drink from.

That's one reason the probe finds drugs in drinking water, but there are others. All of the medications that a person takes are not used by the body, some are excreted as waste. So, once again, it is flushed down the drain and ends up back in the great outdoors.

Another source of surface water contamination, such as rivers and lakes, is farm run-off. The run-off is a source of a variety of contaminants, including parasitic cysts, E-coli and other bacteria, but because farmers place hormone patches behind the ears of cattle to "beef" them up, it is another reason the probe finds drugs in drinking water.

Pets are a source in the same way as people are, except that they urinate directly on the ground, for the most part. If they are not flushed, unwanted medications end up in the trash can and eventually in a landfill, where they are buried and with time seep into the soil and into groundwater.

There is really no safe way to expose of anything in this society. Everything that we use ends up contaminating surface and groundwater at some point. But, there is another question. How do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water that has already been treated?

Scientists say that if wastewater treatment facilities used reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration, they could remove practically all of the medications and avoid returning them to the environment. Then if the proper steps were taken by the drinking water treatment facilities, they could remove even more of the medications.

But, since the probe finds drugs in drinking water ready to be sent to the public, the facilities are obviously not doing their jobs. The steps required are expensive for large scale facilities and, of course, it would slow down production to make the necessary changes. So, don't expect the situation to improve overnight or even over the next decade.

Instead of asking, "How do pharmaceuticals get in drinking water," you might ask "how do I avoid exposure". The answer is simple and inexpensive. You buy a home filtration device that includes sub-micron, carbon and multi-media filters. Not only will it protect you from the drugs, it will also protect you from chlorine and other chemical contaminants and even the parasitic cysts that I mentioned above.

Buying bottled waters is not the right option for many reasons. Just get a purifier. It's a lot less expensive in the long run and it is more environmentally friendly. The next time an investigative probe finds drugs in drinking water samples, you won't have to worry.

Just to recap. How do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water to begin with? People, pets and farms. What can we do about it? Buy a home purifier.

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About The Author, Laurel Tevolitz
Laurel Tevolitz is a dedicated researcher of critical issues that affect health and well-being. Visit her water purification blog now at to discover which water purification system she recommends after extensive research.